RV Le Suroît

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Le Suroît docked in Concarneau in 2007
Name: RV Le Suroît
Operator: Genavir[1]
Builder: Ateliers et Chantiers de la Manche, Dieppe[2]
Launched: 1975
Refit: 1999
Homeport: Brest[2]
Identification: IMO 7360368
Fate: active in service
General characteristics [3]
Type: Research vessel
Tonnage: 946 GT
Displacement: 1,132 long tons
Length: 56.34 m (184.8 ft)
Beam: 11 m (36 ft)
Draught: 4.10 m (13.5 ft)
Installed power:
  • 2 × 600 hp (450 kW)
  • 1 × 210 hp (160 kW)
Speed: 10 knots (19 km/h; 12 mph)
  • 14 (without accommodation container)
  • 17 (with accommodation container)
Crew: 16–23

RV Le Suroît is a French research vessel operated by IFREMER.[3] In 1985, it was involved in the successful Franco-American expedition to find the wreck of the RMS Titanic.[4][5]

Since being refurbished in 1999, the vessel is able undertake bathymetric and seismic research, as well as coring, dredging, and trawling tasks.[3]


Le Suroît

The vessel was commissioned and built in 1975 by Ateliers et Chantiers de la Manche in Dieppe, Seine-Maritime.[6] In 1985, the ship was equipped with the new System Acoustique Remorquè (SAR) sonar device. In early summer, the vessel undertook a 10-day sonar mission[7] in an attempt to find the wreckage of RMS Titanic.[4] Aboard Le Suroît on this mission was Robert Ballard. Le Suroît was able to rule out large sections of a pre-determined 150-square-mile (390 km2) search area – between 26 July and 6 August, 80% of the area had been searched.[8] It later transpired that on one of its first passes, Le Suroît had come within only 3,300 feet (1,000 m) of Titanic.[9] The mission ended on 6 August,[5] after which RV Knorr travelled from the Azores to concentrate on more specific areas using different strategies.[4]

In October 2011, the vessel was on assignment in Crete[10] before travelling to La Seyne-sur-Mer in December.[2]

Facilities and equipment[edit]

The vessel is equipped with a range of devices. The computers run IFREMER's CARAIBES mapping software.[1] The coring cable is 8 kilometres (5.0 mi) long and is made of Kevlar. It has a safe working load (SWL) of 8 tons.[1] The ship also has a 6-kilometre (3.7 mi) steel winch, with an SWL of 2.1 tons. The average cruising speed, and the speed at which surveying is undertaken, is approximately 10 knots (19 km/h; 12 mph).[11]


  1. ^ a b c "Vessel Data and Contact Information". College of Marine Studies, University of Delaware. Retrieved 18 February 2012. 
  2. ^ a b c "LE SUROIT - IMO 7360368". ShipSpotting. Retrieved 18 February 2012. 
  3. ^ a b c "RV Le Suroît". Ocean Facilities Exchange Group. Retrieved 18 February 2012. 
  4. ^ a b c "1985 Discovery of Titanic". Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. Retrieved 18 February 2012. 
  5. ^ a b Alfred, Randy (2 September 2008). "Sept. 2, 1985: Hey, Everyone, We Found the Titanic". Wired. Retrieved 18 February 2012. 
  6. ^ Trillo, Robert L (1978). Jane's ocean technology. Jane's Yearbooks. p. 250. 
  7. ^ "Discovery of Titanic". Titanic-Titanic. Retrieved 18 February 2012. 
  8. ^ Eaton, John P; Haas, Charles A (1989). Titanic: Destination Disaster. ISIS Large Print. p. 169. ISBN 1-85089-305-5. 
  9. ^ Ballard, Robert D. (1987). The Discovery of the Titanic. New York: Warner Books. p. 88. ISBN 978-0-446-51385-2. 
  10. ^ "Oceanographic research ship Le Suroit (France)". Sailwx. Retrieved 18 February 2012. 
  11. ^ "Specifications". IFREMER Fleet. IFREMER. Retrieved 5 March 2012.